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Job growth welcomed in Miss-Lou

A few years ago, our local leaders had the wind knocked out of them when the results of the 2010 U.S. Census showed a significant loss in population over the previous decade.

The pain of realizing that the community effectively shrunk still exists, but small signs of hope abound; if you look for them, you can see the possibility of a reversal of fortunes.

People left Natchez mostly when their industrial jobs dried up and either went elsewhere or were simply eliminated. From Titan Tire to Johns Manville to International Paper, the Miss-Lou lost neighborhoods worth of jobs in the last 15 years.

The only way to change that downward trend is through hard work in bringing new jobs back to the area. That work isn’t instantaneous. It takes time. Think of it as a process of starting a winery from scratch.

You don’t just decide one day to make world-class wine, plant some grapes and begin. The process takes an investment of money, time and knowledge.

Rebuilding an economy is the same process.

The Miss-Lou is working toward changing its future. This week’s completion of a $20 million expansion of BASF’s Vidalia facility is the latest in a long stream of good news.

BASF isn’t the only great economic news happening in the area though. Genesis Energy seems to be expanding by the hour at the Natchez-Adams County Port. Because of their work, the once-anemic railroad line connecting Natchez to Brookhaven is handling a massive increase in tanker cars. With each train whistle and passing rail car, you can imagine the economy getting a little bit stronger and having the ability to employ a few more people.

Achieving population levels and job levels of two or three decades ago will be a tough task, but it’s not an impossible one. It simply takes effort, persistence and working together.

 

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